Cameo by Spanish crisp firm in Oscar-winning comedy thriller Parasite leads to sales boom

(qlmbusinessnews.com via theguardian.com – – Wed, 12th Feb 2020) London, Uk – –

Bonilla a la vista sees sales surge after its distinctive tins feature in Bong Joon-ho’s Oscar-winning comedy thriller

Parasite’s Oscar-night triumphs may have been celebrated mainly in its native South Korea and in the many outposts of the country’s diaspora, but the film has also been toasted on an industrial estate in north-west Spain.

The Galician town of Arteixo is home to a family-owned business that exports 40 tonnes of its crisps to South Korea each year, and whose products have won over more mouths thanks to an unexpected cameo role in Bong Joon-ho’s comedy thriller.

Bonilla a la vista, which has been making crisps and churros for almost a century, first realised something odd was going on last month when people began posting screen grabs of one of its distinctive blue-and-white crisp tins on social media.

It soon emerged that their products had cropped up in Parasite, appearing in a scene in which the infiltrating Kim family eat snacks and drink whisky in the living room of their wealthy employers, the Parks.

Bonilla’s crisps were already popular in South Korea, but their brief role in Parasite has led to them being feted by social media influencers. It has also resulted in a 150% surge in online sales, meaning more work for the company’s 100 employees.

“It was a total coincidence that the tin of crisps appeared in the film,” said a spokeswoman for Bonilla.

“We actually only found our about the tin being in the film through friends and customers who clocked it. It was a complete surprise, but rather a lovely one. Sales have gone up a lot but, oddly, it’s mainly been in Spain. Our distributors have asked us for more merchandise to meet the demand.”

Bonilla a la vista was founded in 1932 when Salvador Bonilla began travelling around Galicia to sell his crisps and churros at fairs.

Today, it produces about 540 tonnes of crisps each year, of which 60 tonnes are sold overseas – two-thirds in South Korea. A 500g tin costs €13 in Spain and €23 in South Korea.

Salvador’s son César, who started off frying crisps and churros and delivering them by motorbike, still heads the family business at the age of 87.

Things have changed since the days when he would be up all night frying before heading out first thing the next day to drop off the snacks at bars and cafes.

But even if Bonilla is as startled by his firm’s Oscar boost as anyone, he says his crisps have always spoken for themselves.

“We’ve always used good potatoes, good olive oil and sea salt – that gives them a great taste and texture,” he said.Advertisement

“Still, it was a huge surprise and you just can’t get better publicity than being in an Oscar-winning film. We export to 20 countries but we’ve never had a boom like this.”

The company’s Korean market opened up four years ago following a few fact-finding missions from would-be importers.

“They came over three or four times and we chatted and negotiated,” said Bonilla. “They visited a few factories but in the end, they went for this one. Ours were the crisps they liked and we became friends almost before we started doing business.”

Between colds and dialysis appointments, the businessman has not managed to see Parasite yet, but insists that he will. “I have to because it’ll be such a great moment.”

There are also plans to send “Mr Bong Joon-ho” a blue-and-white can or two to sit alongside his golden statues. “He certainly deserves them,” said Bonilla.

By Sam Jones in Madrid